City of Petawawa again refuses to raise Pride flag

We do not have Pride events in Petawawa. There is nothing, nothing at all. There’s no marching, there’s no picnicking, flags don’t flysaid Jennifer Neville, a resident who is asking the Municipality to reconsider its decision.

This is not the first time the county town of renfrew refuses to hoist the rainbow flag at City Hall, despite repeated requests from residents.

In June, city council rejected a motion that would have changed a two-decade-old resolution. This policy prevents the Municipality from flying the Pride flag, or any other flag that shows support for a cause, on its buildings.

Resolution 11, adopted in 1998, stipulates that the Municipality cannot make any public proclamationunless she relates to issues that fall solely and entirely within the immediate mandate of the board.

In 1998, the City of Petawawa adopted a policy prohibiting council from making “proclamations” unrelated to its powers and responsibilities.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick Louiseize

Mayor Bob Sweet and advisors Tom Mohns and Murray Rutz voted against the motion. It had to receive the approval of five of the seven members of the city council to be adopted.

Last May, as Pride Month approached, Jennifer Neville wrote a letter to City Council on behalf of Petawawa’s LGBTQ community. She asked to meet with the mayor and councilors who voted against changing the policy in 2021, and wanted to make a formal request to raise the multicolored flag this year.

In his response, the mayor reminded him of municipal policy: Residents must respect that council has policies […] which must be followed.

In addition, added the mayor, the motion would not be reconsidered until June 21, as indicated by a regulation.

Council members never voted against raising the Pride flaghe wrote.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have misinterpreted this and made it a discussion about the Pride Flag, when it’s more of a discussion about whether the board should change or repeal its policy.said the mayor.

In May, as Pride Month approached, Jennifer Neville wrote a letter to City Council.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick Louiseize

An unsuccessful meeting

Jennifer Neville, who presents herself as an ally of the LGBTQ community, met with the mayor a few weeks ago. The answer remained the same: politics. obsoleteshe denounces, prevailed.

It’s frustratingshe commented.

Seth Crosbya high school student in Petawawa, attended this meeting.

It was frustrating to have the same thing repeated. Made us feel a little stucksaid Seth with frustration, adding that in his opinion the policy should be changed to include the community it serves.

Seth Crosby met with the chosen ones.

Photo: Courtesy/Seth Crosby

Eventually, some rules must change. It would be so nice if the city I’ve lived in all my life had my flag and my colors. It would really be coolwish Seth.

The City should always be neutralaccording to the mayor

In interview with CBCMayor Bob Sweet stated that resolution 11 has very, very well served this community ensuring that the city remains neutral.

For example, he illustrated, to position oneself in relation to the annulment by the Supreme Court of the United States of the judgment Roe vs. wade would place the Municipality in a delicate position. Should I proclaim the right to choose or should I defend the right to life? It would pin us between the tree and the barkdid he declare.

The Petawawa City Council. Three elected officials from the top row voted against the change to resolution 11 (left to right: Tom Mohns, Bob Sweet and Murray Rutz).

Photo: City of Petawawa website

If we lean to one side, we will upset 54% of the populationhe continued.

He added that he did not understand the residents’ anger over the rainbow flag case.

I asked this question to [Jennifer Neville]. I asked him, “What’s stopping you from doing that we don’t have a Pride flag?”raised Bob Sweet.

Could you organize a Pride golf tournament? Could you organize a Pride Ball Tournament? What are the things you can’t do, but could do if we had a flag? he asked.

The LGBTQ community has approached the council on the flag issue every year for the past four years, Bob continued. Sweetwho does not intend to present a motion to debate the modification of resolution 11.

Bob Sweet also said that he does not know if the council will debate the motion again this year.

In an email sent to Jennifer Neville, the City says it has declined 33 similar requests since 2007. Petawawa has refused to appear for the Day of Action against Anti-Asian Racism and for Franco-Ontarian Day, among others .

Petawawa’s mayor says he asked the resident how the city could show support for the LGBTQ community without raising a flag.

Jennifer Neville plans to bring a list of suggestions to the next board meeting on July 4th.

I hope that the proposals I present will be accepted […] so that for the Pride month of 2023 we can organize some kind of eventshe wishes.

With information from Priscilla Ki Sun Hwang, CBC

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